Rather than take his readers down a fictional alley like Gotham City or to a foreign metropolis like Sherlock Holmes’ London, local writer Matthew O’Malley prefers to set his modern noir series, “Coastside Detectives,” in his hometown of Pacifica.
The five-part mystery and adventure series follows the journeys of Mike Mason, whose fictional background parallels O’Malley’s, and is modeled after Humphrey Bogart and Gavin Newsom. His latest work, “Foundations,” was published in August.
O’Malley was born and raised in San Francisco and moved to Pacifica in the late 1990s.
Whether it was on classic radio programs or later black-and-white television, the gritty noir style captivated him as a child. Combining his passion for writing and mystery novels was a natural pursuit.
His series took home the Best Neo Noir Novel Award at the 2019 Los Angeles Neo Noir Novel, Film and Script Festival. He also won the show’s Maverick Award, and received a Bronze Laurel Award in 2016 for his books’ video trailers.
O’Malley, 52, published his first novel, “The Grand View,” in 2012. This year it became available as an audiobook from Audible.com, narrated by his friend and professional voice actor David Angelo.
The author said his work is inspired by the coast’s own history, back when rum runners and bootleg establishments were commonplace. O’Malley tends to take his time on his novels, meticulously forming paragraphs into pages. With his day job, it takes him a few years to finish each book.
“Sometimes at night I’ll be thinking about one sentence, or one section, for a few days before I get to it on a computer and type it out,” O’Malley explained. “They do take a while.”